Fraternities at the University of Minnesota are still figuring out how to implement a hard-alcohol ban that just went into effect.
The North American Interfraternity Conference's ban, announced in August, was in response to recent hazing and deaths from over-consumption related to hard alcohol, according to the NIC’s website. Although fraternities are not required to implement the ban until next September, University of Minnesota fraternities wanted to get an early start. Their governance set the University's hard-alcohol ban for Oct. 31.
Billy Langer, president of the University Interfraternity Council that oversees most fraternities at the University, said the ban's enforcement will differ by fraternity.
“I think the ban has teeth, people know that if it gets violated, they’re going to get punished,” he said. If a violation is reported to the IFC, Langer said the whole fraternity chapter could be punished.
Austen Cashman, president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, said they have a three-step policy involving fines, being barred from social events and potential expulsion.
“It’s not on the IFC to police it,” Cashman said. “It’s really on the people within the fraternity houses.”
Max Hurst, president of Delta Kappa Epsilon, said his fraternity is using a “see something, say something” policy. Enforcement of the ban is mainly the responsibility of the fraternities' executive board and violations will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
“We haven’t created a direct rule yet — we haven’t really needed to, but that’s something we’re looking into,” Hurst said.
Hurst said punishment for first violation would likely be a fine. For continued offenses, being barred from social events, being a sober monitor and possible suspension are likely punishments.
“As soon as you step on our property, you should not have hard alcohol,” Hurst said. The fraternity now has a trash can by their front door during parties for attendants to throw away their hard alcohol before entering.
“We’re not letting anyone chug it at the door. … We tell them to leave, we don’t want that there,” Hurst said.
Jeremy Doman, president of Sigma Alpha Mu, said the fraternity has a zero-tolerance policy for bringing hard alcohol into the house, but has not yet had any offenses.
“We’d throw away that person’s hard alcohol, put them on social probation and if that would happen again we’d kick them off the fraternity,” Doman said.
Doman said his fraternity did not have a culture of excessive drinking before, so enforcing the ban has not been difficult. “From all my experience since I’ve been a freshmen … [Sigma Alpha Mu] is not this crazy '80s movie that everyone thinks it is. … We do a great job in philanthropy, we’re not crazy partiers.”
Hurst said the ban was the first step towards a bigger conversation. “I think a conversation needs to be made about changing the culture of alcohol usage in our community,” he said.
“It’s important to help people understand the impact hard alcohol has and how prevalent it is on campus,” Doman said. “Because regardless of your affiliation with any kind of organization, there’s definitely a hard alcohol drinking problem.”